Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion

Abstract : This article is the first to renews the old debate of "rules versus. discretion" by introducing propensity score matching methods in macro analysis, such as Tapsoba (2012), and by using instrumental methods, to consider the national stability culture. By taking into account, at the same time, the self-selection problem and the omitted unobserved factor bias, in a sample of 126 countries of all level of development over the period 1985-2010, we provide strong evidence about the positive causal effect of fiscal rules adoption on the reduction of fiscal policy procyclicality. We find an asymmetrical impact, since fiscal rules adoption contributed to upgrade budget balance in periods of expansion, while it doesn't increase budget deficit in periods of recession. Furthermore, we show that the budget balance rules and the debt rules are more effective to dampen procyclicality than expenditure rules. We also provide evidence that the coverage of fiscal rules is not a critical issue to strength against procyclicality. Empirical results also displays the positive impact of the adoption of flexible rules, but also the adoption of fiscal rules combined to improve policy responsiveness. Finally, we find that FRs are effective when taking into account the national stability culture. This positive impact of fiscal rules adoption on fiscal policy cyclicality comes from an improvement of fiscal policy disciplinary, by ensuring a sustainable path of deficit and debt, or by smoothing business cycles.
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Pierre Mandon. Evaluating Treatment Effect and Causal Effect of Fiscal Rules on Procyclicality New assessments on old debate: rules vs. discretion. 2014. ⟨halshs-01015756⟩

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